Mystery giant jellyfish washes up in Australia

Feb 06, 2014
A 1.5-m new species of giant jellyfish that washed up on a beach near Hobart in Tasmania, pictured on February 6, 2014

Scientists were on Thursday working to classify a new species of giant jellyfish that washed up on an Australian beach, describing it as a "whopper" that took their breath away.

The 1.5-metre (4 foot 11 inch) specimen was found by a family in the southern state of Tasmania, who contacted a local .

Lisa Gershwin, a scientist with the government's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), said the type of jellyfish had been seen in the past, but never one so big and not one that became beached.

"We know about this specimen but it hasn't been classified yet, it hasn't been named," she told AFP, adding that there had been a massive jellyfish bloom in Tasmanian waters over the past month.

She said the was related to the lion's mane jellyfish, the largest known of the marine animal in the world.

"It is so big it took our breath away," added Gershwin, who has been working with jellyfish for 20 years.

"It's a whopper of an animal but it's not life-threatening, although it does sting."

CSIRO scientists now have enough pictures and samples to begin a proper analysis to classify and name the creature. Despite this, much remains unknown, including how it eats and breeds, and its habitat.

"It's so big but we know nothing about it," said Gershwin. "It highlights again how much we still have to learn about the ocean."

The jellyfish was found by the Lim family on a beach south of the Tasmanian capital Hobart with mother Josie saying "it blew our minds away".

"It's not really territory here and all we could do was stand back and admire it," she told AFP.

Explore further: Research shows impact of BMR on brain size in fish

Related Stories

UN warns of jellyfish 'vicious circle' in Med

May 30, 2013

The United Nations on Thursday warned overfishing in the Mediterranean was boosting jellyfish, which reduce stocks further and it called for jellyfish to be used in food, medicine and cosmetics.

Taking the heat out of jellyfish stings

Dec 16, 2013

Everyone has their own theory about how to best relieve the pain of a jellyfish sting, however a team of University of Sydney researchers has examined a host of often-used methods to determine which is the most effective.

Dutch zoo breeds own jellyfish

Sep 29, 2007

Marine biologists at a Dutch zoo say they have succeeded in the difficult task of breeding jellyfish in captivity.

Jellyfish on the rise: study

Apr 18, 2012

Jellyfish are increasing in the majority of the world's coastal ecosystems, according to the first global study of jellyfish abundance by University of British Columbia researchers.

Recommended for you

Research shows impact of BMR on brain size in fish

Apr 24, 2015

A commonly used term to describe nutritional needs and energy expenditure in humans – basal metabolic rate – could also be used to give insight into brain size of ocean fish, according to new research by Dr Teresa Iglesias ...

Why do animals fight members of other species?

Apr 23, 2015

Why do animals fight with members of other species? A nine-year study by UCLA biologists says the reason often has to do with "obtaining priority access to females" in the area.

Dolphins use extra energy to communicate in noisy waters

Apr 23, 2015

Dolphins that raise their voices to be heard in noisy environments expend extra energy in doing so, according to new research that for the first time measures the biological costs to marine mammals of trying ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Iochroma
not rated yet Feb 07, 2014
Editor alert: the lion's mane jelly is not the "largest marine animal"; might be the largest marine invertebrate, depending on your definition. Blue whales are a larger marine animal.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.